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Bedford County Comprehensive Plan being developed

Local storytelling opportunity to come

Posted 2/18/23

The Bedford County Regional Planning Commission has the goal of developing a 20-year comprehensive growth plan.

This plan, sometimes called a master plan, will be used by the Planning Commission …

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Bedford County Comprehensive Plan being developed

Local storytelling opportunity to come


The Bedford County Regional Planning Commission has the goal of developing a 20-year comprehensive growth plan.

This plan, sometimes called a master plan, will be used by the Planning Commission to express the county’s vision, goals, objectives, policies, development, and strategies for future growth (or intelligent shrinkage). It will include preservation policies for the county’s most valued and appreciated resources (natural or historical), as well as for the planned provision of new services.

The plan is also completely location dependent. Said differently, certain areas of the county may be more suitable for certain types or densities of growth while other areas may be in need of special protections from concentrations of growth. A principal goal of the plan is for the county and municipalities to cooperate to create a community-wide vision for the future.

Officials say they want the plan to not only identify the community’s goals and objectives but also recommend courses of action for future growth and development of lands, the creation of public facilities or services, certain environmental protections, and to outline specific goals and strategies to help achieve the vision. It is a resource to inform policy decisions for the next 20 years.

Residents are encouraged to give input at public meetings, volunteer to be on a planning commission as well as increase their civic literacy by getting involved to help develop this comprehensive plan. Items in the plan will include:

  • Population – Historic trends, projections, household number and sizes, education levels and income.
  • Economic Development – Labor force characteristics, employment, and analysis of our economic base.
  • Natural Resources – Consideration of the natural environment, agricultural and forest lands, plant and animal habitats, recreation, scenic vistas, and soil and air quality.
  • Cultural Resources – Consideration of historic buildings, districts, museums, festivals, and natural scenic sites.
  • Community Facilities – Consideration of water/sewerage systems and wastewater treatment, solid waste collection and disposal, fire protection, emergency medical services, government facilities, education, and cultural facilities.
  • Land Use – Consideration of existing and future categories including residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, forestry, mining, public and quasi-public, recreation, parks, open space, and vacant or undeveloped lands.
  • Transportation – Consideration of facilities including major road improvements, new roads, transit projects, pedestrian and bicycle projects, multi-modal, and other elements of a network in coordination with land use.

The first meeting, designed to educate the public on the process and expected outcomes, will be held at Shelbyville Recreation Center on Tuesday, March 7, at 6 p.m. in meeting room 1, A collaborative workshop session will join our administrative staff and engineering professionals along with a group of citizen volunteers who wish to include their ideas and perspectives on future growth and preservation. Depending on participation and productivity, we may schedule additional workshops to follow. 

Storytelling opportunity

The county is also inviting residents to write a short story about their community, village, or neighborhood, and tell everyone about some of their fondest memories. If anyone has photographs, the county would love to have copies of those as well.

Storytelling not only provides an opportunity to explain and teach but also to listen and learn from people and make plans with a community.

In a recent press release, officials from the zoning department want to “authentically engage the citizens and stakeholders of Bedford County by listening to them and their concerns; to hear their stories and use them to improve policies and projects.”

They hope this participation will help shape and mold a future growth policy that looks more like Bedford County — one that complements the community and creates opportunity for the community everyone wants.

“You may not own any family heirlooms, but you can make one for your family by being an integral part of this record and of this process. This plan can be an heirloom you pass down, not only to your family but to everyone else’s family as well,” the press release stated.

The county has plans to collect these short stories and compile them into the official record of this planning process. They will also use them to help steer their efforts to develop a comprehensive plan. As a part of this process, they will compile these stories into a book that will be donated to the public library and to the county archives department.

If you are interested in sharing your story or photographs, please send them to:

Bedford County Planning Department, 1 Public Square, Suite 300, Shelbyville, Tennessee. We can scan or copy photographs and documents in the event you do not want to leave your original photos or records with us. Please have your story or submittal items postmarked no later than March 31st, 2023, to have them included in the plan.

Navigation Advertising of Murfreesboro is working to create a historical documentary video of Bedford County. The owner, Christian Hidalgo, is an award-winning producer of other historical documentaries including the history of Rutherford County and others. He has agreed to take the best of these stories, photographs, mementos, etc., and include them in his documentary which would include an interview with the submitters.

According to the press release, “Your involvement is far more important that you may realize. Your attendance and participation at our meetings will be incredibly beneficial – but more so if you’re willing to share your ideas and experiences. Most importantly, these stories and your voice will never be forgotten. Become a storyteller and give your family and your community voices that will be heard for all the generations to come.”